Monday, December 28, 2009



Sophia was 6 last November and Brandon is now 9.












Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm Ready!

The gifts are wrapped, a handful compared to past years.  The grocery shopping is done.  It'll be a simple meal -- ham, roasted vegetables for those who will eat them and corn for those who won't.  Buttercrust rolls.  Peppermint ice cream in an oreo chocolate crust. 

Brett has entertained family and friends with e-mail from China.  When I woke up on the 11th, several notes from him were in my in-box:

Rule 1
Always stop at the hotel counter and have them write down your destination in Chinese
Print the address (in Chinese) from the internet.  Give that to the cabbie.

Easy as pie.

s/Brett-somewhere in Shanghai.

Rule #2
Never look out of the taxi driver's front windshield.  Always concentrate your eyes out the side windows as to avoid the hysteric reactions you may have.

And now I'm lost

Uh oh

Rule #3
Always double check the address your hotel translates into Chinese for the taxi driver. Otherwise you may find yourself at a border crossing with no papers.

Rule #4
Don't misplace anything.  You will not be able to explain the simplest item for them to understand what it is you're describing.  Not even remotely!!!

A green hotfoot?  No, my green notebook!  Not cooked?  NOTEBOOK!!!  Dammit!

And then:

Rule #4-mystery solved!!!  Green notebook retrieved.

Fortunately Brett doesn't get upset when these mishaps occur.  And he did embellish his telling of his adventures.  There was no border problem.  The cabbie was unsure of Brett's destination, so Brett called the client's office and a person there instructed the cab driver where he should take Brett.  The notebook was left in the back seat of the real estate agent's car and after a phone call to him, the notebook was returned to Brett at his hotel the next day.

In his search for suitable office space and an apartment, Brett went first to Shanghai and then Beijing.  The cost to rent an apartment in Beijing is about one-third what it is in Shanghai.  He likes both cities for different reasons, so I'm confident he and Michelle will be happy wherever they live.

Michelle flew over last Friday.  She sent e-mail saying, "Brett met me at the airport and was kind enough to show up with a bag of crispy fried duck feet."  What a guy!  Obviously he put a lot of thought into presenting Michelle with something that would make her week's visit memorable.  They'll spend the days leading up to Christmas in Hong Kong and then fly home on the 26th.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Sophia was the recipient of the Elf on the Shelf she named Freddie. The first thing she does every morning when she wakes up is search the house to locate Freddie's perch for the day.  Brandon isn't ready to talk about the existence of Santa, probably because he realizes that the excitement of Christmas will be diminished if Santa really doesn't arrive with a sleigh filled with toys and come down the chimney but instead pulls into the garage and hurriedly stows packages where little eyes won't find them.  

Only a few days until Christmas.  I think I'm ready.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

Blogging was supposed to ease the task of journaling.  A few minutes a day, or at the longest, a week, to write about things happening around me.  But that's not been reality.  There's little that happens in a day that didn't also happen yesterday and will undoubtedly happen tomorrow.  Such is my life.  I'm not complaining, just noting why posts from Park Place are infrequent.  I simply have little to say!

But there have been some report-worthy activities.  In mid-November, Matt agreed to oversee Brandon and Sophia so Dawn and I could spend a few days with Brett and Michelle in California to celebrate Dawn's and Brett's November birthdays.   We spent some of our time together relaxing in their garden (although the picture was taken one afternoon when we went shopping).  Dawn and I relaxed as we thought about the chaos of the approaching winter holidays.  Brett and Michelle were preparing to spend some time overseas.

Brett left his previous employer in October and is now working for ValleyCrest, "an integrated landscape company that designs, builds and maintains ... places."  Brett's immediate challenge is to establish and maintain a corporate office in China.  He left yesterday to spend three weeks visiting several Chinese cities, searching for the best to satisfy corporate and client needs.  Once that is accomplished, he will find a nearby apartment in which to live for the next two years.  Michelle hopes that she will find employment there, too, perhaps as an English teacher.

Thanksgiving Day was perfect weather for Matt's grilling of the turkey outdoors.  This year Sophia and Brandon helped with meal preparation, too.  Sophia mixed the green bean casserole and Brandon prepared the whipped sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. Finally they're both old enough to sit through a meal without fidgeting or fussing.  It was a very relaxing time!

In August 18-year-old cat Kitty died.  With her absent, I was able to stay in bed past 7:00 AM (when she made sleep impossible as she demanded breakfast) and demanded to be lifted to the bathroom counter where I had to turn on the water so she could drink.  ("Dogs have masters, cats have staff.")  But I came to miss having activity here, and just before Thanksgiving adopted littermates Simon and Lilli from the Humane Society.  They have been a joy.  They eat the food left out for them and drink from the water dish that sits beside it.  And they entertain me as well as each other.

And I Thought I'd be Bored

Back in September Brandon was about a month into his first season playing tackle football. His team, the Panthers, won their first game, and I missed it because I was working. I understand that the youngsters showed up that Saturday morning with their heads screwed on straight. They performed in inspired style.

Two weeks later eleven Panthers were on the field, and it seemed as though each had his own agenda. The result was that they did the equivalent of putting a red ribbon around the game they handed to their opponent.

Apparently the coach got their attention during the practices that followed. Being a nice guy hadn't worked, so he and the assistant coaches got tough. I wasn't there, but I understand the boys learned through the experience of several scrimmages what is required to play and win.

It was late September and a perfect day for football -- sunny with the temperature in the mid 60's. I got to the field early and watched the Panthers practice. Paired up, two boys laid on their backs, helmet to helmet, one holding the football. The coach stood over them, and when he yelled "Go!", they jumped up, turned around to face each other, and the ball carrier tried to evade the other fellow whose assignment was to tackle him. Pads were popping. No one was holding back. 

Their opponent on this Saturday had won their three previous games and had not been scored against. The Panthers had a big mountain to climb. And climb it they did. The Panthers recovered a fumble and in the next few plays, made a touchdown, the first scored against their opponent! The boys played so much better than earlier in the season and their practices paid off. They didn't win the game, but they didn't embarrass themselves. I am so proud of their effort and I hope they are proud of the way they played.  I am looking forward to next fall's football games.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Challenge, But FUN!!

Matt was awarded a trip to Cancun by his employer for meeting his sales goal in the past year.  He and Dawn spent three days in Cancun, plus two days traveling there and back.  And I watched Brandon and Sophia while they were gone.  I'll admit it:  I was unsure of my ability to oversee them for five days.  If they listened, if they obeyed, it would be no problem for me.  If our views of how things should be done conflicted, the days would seem to be unending. 

Matt had given each of the kids a gift card and their choice of activity Sunday was to go shopping!  They wanted to end up at the mall, but had stops to be made on the way.  We alternated:  a stop here for Brandon, the next stop for Sophia.  They were good shoppers.  If they couldn't find what they wanted, we moved on.  Eventually both were satisfied.  Sophia found nail polish, fake nails and bear-faced cushy slippers.   Brandon added to his football card collection.  I guess one can never have too many.

Dawn and Matt were hosting a Halloween party when they returned, so I thought I'd help get ready by vacuuming.  However, I couldn't get into Brandon's and Sophia's bedrooms because of all their toys scattered about.  While I helped Sophia move things to their proper places, I asked Brandon to move his to his bed.  I expected an argument but for some reason, both regarded this chore as more of a game.  Once Sophia's floor was clear and she was free to go play, I moved to Brandon's room. 

He was still working diligently.  He'd begun to fill the waste basket beside him with broken crayons, old school papers, and other trash.  Before the session was completed, he'd filled and emptied the container three times.  And he was still on a roll. 

I had dusted the bedside table and chest and said I was too tired to do more but would finish in the morning.  He wanted it done now, and went to find the step stool and then climbed it so he could dust and rearrange the items on his highboy.  Next he moved to the closet where he straightened his shoes and hanging clothes.  Finally the sports card notebooks and boxes containing those that hadn't been assigned a place were neatly stacked in the closet.  He'd worked steadily for over two hours and was pleased by his accomplishment.  I was flabbergasted that he'd stayed with the task and done it right!  He was so proud and said that he intended to keep his room tidy. 

It turned out to be a great week.  They ate what I fixed (and asked for the leftovers the next night!).  We also went out to eat at their favorite restaurant and brought home ice cream to eat while relaxing before bedtime.  And they kept their rooms neat, although Sophia doesn't seem to be bothered by clutter and had to be encouraged to put toys away rather than just toss them into the room!

Happily, I'm looking forward to doing it again.  But there's no need to rush to it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A New Four-Letter Word, and It's Not Fall

But fall is here. There was frost on the roof earlier this week, but it didn't reach the ground. Summer flowers are still blooming. Instead of posting a note, I should be outdoors clearing them out of the garden. My excuse is that there will be a warmer day, perhaps as early as tomorrow, in which to tackle the task. Some preparatory work has been done, however. I had the carpets cleaned after postponing the job until the kids were back in school and not here as much to drop crumbs or spill drinks. That job completed, I wheeled in the large plant container that houses the ten-year-old hibiscus. It was a prolific bloomer throughout the summer and I didn't want to lose it to freezing temperatures. In addition, the screen in the front door has been replaced by the glass panels, but I still need to remove other screens before the snow arrives.

Brandon's football season is finished. Their record shows fewer wins than losses, but I'm proud of the skills he has learned and the teamwork exhibited by all the boys on the Panthers team. The weather yesterday was mostly sunny as opposed to the rain at last week's game. There was nothing fun about sitting in four layers of clothes covered by a Niagara Falls Maid of the Mist blue plastic poncho. Brandon had told Dawn earlier in the season that he wanted to play a game in the rain. He didn't look so enthused when he came off the field coated in mud and dripping water from his fingertips.

As a hospital volunteer, I was able to get a seasonal flu shot Tuesday at no charge. In and out in less than three minutes. Glad I didn't delay. Brandon went to school on Tuesday and the school called 30 minutes after his arrival to ask Dawn to come get him. She took him to the doctor on Wednesday. The practice had already diagnosed several cases of flu and Brandon was sent home with a prescription for Tamiflu and instructions to rest. His fever broke on Thursday, and he stayed home from school Friday to obey the 24-hours fever-free before rejoining society. Saturday morning he was back to being his normal self, so was able to play in his last football game for the season. As quarterback, he ran in one play for a touchdown. It was hard to tell who was more excited -- him or his family.

Sophia's finally losing her primary teeth. The two bottom teeth came out early this year. One of her top teeth came out as she ate an apple a few weeks ago. The other, the central incisor that she knocked loose when she fell against the bedside table while jumping on the bed a couple years ago, has been resistant to letting go. And the lateral incisor next to it, instead of loosening, seems to be climbing up her gum. Dawn is taking her to the dentist tomorrow for examination and anticipated removal of both teeth. Sophia seems nonchalant about the visit.

While we watched Brandon's game yesterday, a woman walked through the crowd carrying a large box with FREE KITTENS printed in red poster paint on it. There were three adorable fluffy, soon-to-be long-haired kittens inside. I've already made up my mind to get two kittens when it's time. For thirty seconds I thought about getting a small dog, but taking care of cats is much easier than tending dogs. Still, I'm pushing adoption day away. I want to wait until after the visit to California to see Brett and Michelle in November, because I don't want to have to board them. I am also enjoying the peaceful mornings I've had since the end of August when Kitty died. No animal with an internal alarm clock announcing that it's time for breakfast. No need for me to be quiet so I don't rouse sleeping (and therefore still) pets. I have really enjoyed that aspect of being without pets. (Photo source:

The new four-letter word? Snow. It's just a matter of days.........

Sunday, September 6, 2009

September Song

The past few weeks have been the type that we in the area live for: sunny, low humidity, and temperatures in the mid 70's during the day and mid 50's overnight. I actually looked forward to sunrise and getting in the car to drive over to the walking track to make a circuit. In fact, one day, I did two laps. It's unusual to have weather as consistently pretty as September has been, and I don't hear anyone complaining!

As fall approaches, it's the season for craft festivals. Dawn, Sophia and I attended a new arts event at the nearby park a few Saturdays ago. Lots of paintings and graphic art. And lots of hand-crafted jewelry. And entertainment. I admire the organizers for attempting this first-time event, especially when there are so many other already-established venues. If there is a second annual Arts in the Park, I hope the organizers allow the exhibitors more space. Or more room for the visitors to examine the artists' work. One person stopping to admire work or make a purchase stopped others' progress through the tented segments. Several times we passed an exhibit because there was no way to see the work unless we stood in line. No thank you.

The grandparent of fall craft fairs in the area started last weekend. This is the thirty-seventh year of the Yankee Peddler Festival, a celebration of Ohio history, food, crafts, and art that runs three consecutive weekends in September. The smell of wood smoke permeates the grounds since electricity and other modern-day conveniences may not be used during the event. Exhibitors are required to dress in period costumes. Tents are commonly seen since many exhibitors camp on the grounds during the festival.

This year a new area called Yankee Peddler Today has been set aside where craftsmen (and women) may dress in current styles. The Festival is a popular destination of tour buses from nearby areas. Dawn and I have noted in the past few annual visits that each year there are fewer exhibitors than the year before. Still, there's a lot to see regardless of whether a visitor is keen to purchase hand-crafted goods. Dawn and I are interested in stopping by the food booths where a variety of foods such as meats cooked over wood fires, fresh lemonade, batter-fried veggies, apple fritters, and funnel cake tempt us. We don't leave hungry!

We've had a beautiful September and can now look forward to a colorful autumn as October approaches. I'd like to put off winter's arrival as long as possible.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

'tis the Season - for Football

Last fall Brandon played football for the first time. Boys his age, second and third graders 7 and 8 years old, played flag football: no pads, no helmets and no tackling. Instead each player wore a belt with a ribbon attached to each side. When an opposing player pulled a "flag" off your belt, you were out of the play. Most of the boys wanted to participate in the game, but some were not interested in learning and appeared to regard this as an escape from doing their homework.

This year at 9 years old, Brandon moved up to the B League where the boys are fourth and fifth graders. Over one hundred boys are participating. This year they're wearing helmets and pads and they're tackling. One of the first things the boys learned was how to hit and not be hurt yourself doing it. Another was how to tackle properly to avoid injuring that player. They have also had it emphasized that they must work together as a team.

Most of the boys have their heads in the game this year. Brandon's dad used to play football, and Matt has encouraged Brandon and worked with him so that he knows the importance of learning the plays and then practicing their execution. The other night Brandon was going through the drill for his position as quarterback, and since Matt was not home yet, Brandon asked Dawn to work with him. He'd tell her what the play was and where she should run. After a couple tries, he asked her to stop running in slow motion. She replied that she's a little older and bigger than his teammates and she was going as fast as she could.

After three weeks of two-hour three-nights-a-week practices, the youth football Kick-Off Classic was held at the community's football stadium under the lights Saturday evening. Opposing teams were paired and, as each came on the field in uniform, first the cheerleaders and their coaches then the players and their coaches, all were introduced. Then play began. Each team was allowed to execute ten plays against their opponent.

It was great to see the boys actually concentrating and working together. Of course there were fumbles and missed plays, but there were some well executed endeavors as well. Brandon passed off the ball without dropping it and the ball carrier held tight and gained some yardage. Brandon kept the ball in one play and managed to gain several yards before he was tackled. He also threw a pass (that was caught!) and the runner made more than first down yardage. They also seemed to understand their assignments when they were on defense.

In less than 20 minutes I made myself hoarse yelling in excitement. Brandon doesn't give any indication that he may tire of playing, so I'm going to have to invest in an air horn or cowbell if I'm going to have any voice after a real game.

Friday, August 21, 2009


On Monday it was three days and counting. Three days in Grandma's care until the schools are back in session.

I walked my mile at the track early, before the temperature succeeded in its march to make this another 90° day. Then it was over to pick up Brandon and Sophia.

Sophia can play by herself. But she's just discovered the cash register in the toy box and likes to "sell" items using the register's scanner. I got to be the customer: first, as her grandmother; then, a teacher; eventually someone else's mom. Each time I bought a bag full of books and puzzles which I then returned so that they could be put on display for the next "customer" to purchase.

Although Christian and Kelsi's mom is on vacation this week, Christian wanted to come to Grandma Sherry's to play with Brandon. The boys played quietly all morning with the Tech Decks. When they got bored, they asked if they could go out for lunch. Grandma Sherry told them to ask Grandpa Terry to take them. Evidently it wasn't a problem because minutes later their car zipped out the driveway. That meant I needed to take Sophia out for lunch. Three days and counting.

At two days and counting, Dawn took the day off so that she and I could do something special with Brandon and Sophia. I suggested another visit to the zoo, a drive down the interstate to a wild animal conservation preserve or perhaps a train ride. None of these ideas appealed to them. Believe it or not, they wanted to go shopping!

They needed school shoes and we visited numerous stores to find each the perfect pair. I gave Brandon and Sophia some cash with which to buy themselves something. I love watching their minds work -- how much can they buy or what must they return to the shelf in order to have some other item. Sophia visited Build A Bear and it took her an eternity to pick her animal, a snow leopard she named Sparkles. Brandon was quicker. He headed to Game Stop, a store that sells new and used video games. In five minutes he'd made his selection and we were headed out into the mall again. Four hours of shopping was time well spent, because they both had a good time.

Friday. Down to one day and counting. Brandon, Sophia and I spent some time straightening up the garage where miscellaneous toys cluttered the floor. Some were boxed up to carry to Goodwill and those beyond repair/usefulness were put in the trash. The girls' kitchen, beauty center, and washing machine will be recycled soon since the girls have lost interest in playing with them. The garage will be all mine again.

The countdown has been completed. Over the weekend bedtimes will be earlier as Brandon and Sophia prepare for Monday morning. When they arrive here after school that afternoon, the countdown to the next holiday will have begun.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hot Hot HOT

Hot Hot HOT!! Summer is finally here.

Matt and Dawn headed to West Virginia Friday afternoon for a grown-ups get-together. The plan was that Brandon and Sophia would spend Friday night until Sunday midday with Nana and Pap, Matt's parents, at their campsite. However, Sophia had been invited to spend Saturday afternoon at a pool party with some schoolmates. Allowed to decide whether it would be friends or family, she chose friends. So she stayed with me.

Saturday's weather yielded cloudless skies and a temperature topping 90°. I had to work, and the parents of the party hostess congenially offered to let me drop off Sophia early. When I returned to pick her up, she showed me some new water skills and then, without repeated requests from me, Sophia thanked her hosts, gathered her belongings and we headed home. The high outdoor temperature had warmed the inside air. Thank heaven for ceiling fans. As long as we didn't exert ourselves, we were comfortable.

I had prepared fresh corn-on-the-cob for Friday's dinner and Sophia ate her share and half of mine. On the way from from the gift shop Saturday, I picked up more corn. Dinner was light -- corn, cantaloupe and grapes -- and early -- 5:30. After playing hard through the hot afternoon, I expected Sophia to crash before dark. I was wrong. She was in bed at 8:00, but unable to go to sleep. An hour later, I sent her in to try again and she was successful.

I woke up this morning to find her in my bed. Kitty (the cat) routinely wakes up and demands breakfast (meowing incessantly) about 7:00. In order to let Sophia sleep, I had to get up to feed her. While Sophia slept, I sat on the porch and read the newspaper until 9:00 when she appeared beside me, tossle-headed and sleepy-eyed.

And so another day had begun. I anticipated a physically lazy day to recuperate from Saturday's activities. For me, that is. I think Sophia will be back in the water at home this afternoon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Give Me a Soft Chair and a Stiff Drink

There are less than two weeks until Brandon and Sophia are back to school. In the past three months there were days I thought would never end. But looking back, the summer has flown by. Today was the cream between the chocolate cookies. It was steamy earlier this week and will hit the high 80's over the weekend. But today the high was only 80 degrees -- perfect.

I'd told Brandon and Sophia we would do something special today and it was their decision to go to the Akron Zoo. It has interesting exhibits, is clean, easily navigated and only 45 minutes from home. A good choice.

The kids get crazy when they are excited, but eventually they got into the car with their bottles of water and snacks. This is a drive I should make more often, because even with directions off the computer, I managed to make at least one navigational error. Brandon was co-pilot, but he was reading waay too slow or I was driving waay to fast and we missed a critical turn. Fortunately I was familiar enough with the area from past trips that eventually we found our way to the entrance.

I thought that going midweek would ensure no crowds. Huh. When we arrived thirty minutes after the zoo opened, we were directed to the distant parking lot. But in spite of the high attendance, we were able to see the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). And because it was not a hot day, the animals were active rather than displaying their usual lethargy of midsummer. After two hours both Brandon and Sophia were hot and ready to head back to the car. I'd promised lunch and they were ready to move on.

The rest of the afternoon was orchestrated by Brandon and Sophia. Our fast food lunch was followed by a visit to one of the national chain stores. I'd given each some pocket money and they were anxious to see what they could spend it on. Brandon had his eye on more Teck Decks; Sophia, on clothes. The first store didn't have what Brandon wanted, so we stopped at another.

Finally we plopped our tired bones in the car and headed home. Brandon sat down to play with his new apparatus and Sophia put on her new apparel. I sat down to read e-mail and watched the clock, waiting for Dawn to arrive and take the kids away. Now they're gone and I finally have my soft chair but I'm too tired to go fix that stiff drink!

Monday, August 10, 2009

You Roll the Dice...

It's Monday, one of the three days of the week Brandon and Sophia stay with me so Dawn can work with her interior design clients. I was concerned that Brandon would be bored today (and drive me nutz reminding me of the fact) since Christian who, with his sister, Kelsi, visits his grandmother next door to me, was not going to be here all week. I had the clever idea (self-preservation at its best) to suggest he bring a friend. My only trepidation was that they would have a disagreement and the need to referee could make this the longest day of my summer.

Thankfully those fears did not materialize. The boys entertained themselves by alternating activities -- either riding their skateboards until they could no longer ignore the 90-degree heat or returning inside where they built skateboards and did whatever else "dudes" do with their Teck Deck collections.

Sophia and Kelsi, 6 and 5, still have their ups and downs. Although they generally play well together, there are times when they tire of each other. Today, though, they both had uncounted "tattoos" to stick on their bodies. For two hours they cut them out, peeled off the plastic covering, laid them on places they could reach, covered them with a damp towel, removed the now-damp paper backing and finally, admired the newest addition. There's no use asking for cooperation when the camera comes out. The snapshot of Sophia sporting a tattoo on her cheek proves it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lazy, Good for Nothing

I spent yesterday thinking about getting dressed so I could do something constructive. At least get outdoors. Didn't work. I stayed in pj's, knowing that if I got dressed, it would lead to the walking track, where I should be, but didn't want to go.

So I spent a couple hours playing with the day's blog entry, and researched how I could make the classic template more personal. That effort made my brain tired. I changed directions and tried to read a new book. After getting to page 22, the story line being laid out in great detail, I felt as though I was wading through waist-deep water. Reading it was work and I wanted entertainment. It will go back to the library. A few years ago that book would have been read, boring or not. Back then I didn't start something without finishing it. One day I realized that I could start and finish a lot of self-appointed tasks, but I might miss out on doing something else that really interested me. So, no more. Don't like what I'm reading or don't like what I'm doing, I've given myself permission to stop and move on.

I've had a long weekend. Because of the luncheon on Friday, Brandon and Sophia weren't here. I didn't have to work (I volunteer, but it's still work!) yesterday. Today, I was determined to get out of bed and do something constructive. At 8:00 I was out the door to log a mile walking the perimeter of the neighborhood. It's time to raise the goal to two miles, but this is Sunday. Maybe tomorrow. Don't give me a hard time.

Back home I jockeyed for position to take a shower. When the cat (also named Kitty) hears water running, she regards it as her summons to drink from the water flowing down the drain. It's necessary to physically pick her up, turn around and back into the shower, setting her on the floor outside the stall door before it closes. When I finished and turned off the water, she was prone on the bathmat, forcing me to step over her. With the speed of cold molasses, she rolled to her feet and walked into the shower, looking back at me expectantly.

Dressed again, I changed the bed linen. While the cottons were in the dryer, I went outdoors to fertiize plants, perhaps for the last time this summer. Again, hearing the water, Kitty followed me along the sidewalk, waiting for her opportunity to drink. So when I finished, I hung the hose over the fence and watched with amusement while she drank her fill.

The only thing wrong with getting up at 7:00 is that when I finished the assigned tasks, the clock read 10:15. I still have a full day ahead, but now there's an interesting book on the table to entertain me. And there are pillow cases to iron if I feel like getting up to do busy work.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I should have said "No thank you"

I should have said "No thank you" when asked.

This is Hall of Fame Week in Canton, Ohio. It's a BIG THING to football fans -- a week devoted to the celebration of inducting player standouts - six this year - of the game. The week's highlights include multiple hot air balloon liftoffs, drum corps competition, TWO parades, ribs burnoff, enshrinees dinner, a concert and fireworks, and finally, the Hall of Fame game.

And a fashion show luncheon. My 80+ year old hospital lunch companion has held tickets to the luncheon for years. (Because of HoF activities' popularity, it's said "ownership" of event tickets passes down through families when ticket holders pass away.) I'm not into style trends, nor do the crowds of the week excite me, except in a negative way. But I failed to say "No thank you," so on Friday I was there.

How many ticket holders were there? The Saturday morning newspaper said three thousand attended the luncheon and style show. Cost per ticket, between $50 and $65. (I have to remember to send my hostess a thank you note when this post is finished.)

Goodie bags still rule, but the contents are less exciting than they once were. Now, many coupons, but only a few samples. The food -- chicken crepes, rice pilaf, vegetable medley and thick-as-fudge chocolate truffle torte. Great fare!

The style show featured several ensembles worn by models with figures rarely seen on women over the age of forty. Also strutting their stuff were three pre-teen girls, one with a bright-light personality that captured the audience. Three males participated: a late teen, a young adult and tall, gray-haired grandpa who is a regular on the HoF runway. The young men will probably never go near a modeling venue again; Pasquale loved the audience and they loved him.

Musical interludes were performed by contemporary artists I've never heard of -- vocalist Jennifer Johns and electric vioinist Cathy Morris. Although I didn't recognize the selections they performed, I found their presentations professional and enjoyable. That saying, "You can't please everyone" came to mind through the event: younger women were going to enjoy the afternoon much more than the grandmothers also sitting at the table.

In reflection, as I knew it would be, it was an interesting half-day. Do I want to go again? No, once every thirty years (the other time I attended, as a guest) is sufficient. But it is Hall of Fame Week, and this was my opportunity to participate.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's Time for a Change -- I Think

Since 2002 I've had a web page. It's been a rewarding challenge to write copy, select photographs and lay out pages on which I related the previous months' activities of Brandon and Sophia, reported on trips I took, or wrote the occasional essay about an event that made an impression on me.

While Brandon and Sophia were little, there were lots of pictures and many stories to share. But now they're older and don't require the on-going oversight of toddlers. Oh, there were times when I should have watched more closely, but overall, I'm just here to kiss the occasional stubbed toe or call the ambulance if one would break a leg skateboarding. And they flit from one activity to another too quickly to snap pictures.

So a blog it will be. Probably not frequent, but hopefully more regular than the uploads to the web page have been.